Legendary 86-year-old jewel thief arrested again

by Staff writer

An 86-year-old serial jewel thief, whose crimes date back to the 1950s, has again been charged with theft.

Doris Payne was arrested at a Walmart store in Chamblee, Georgia, with $86.22 worth of items, police say.

She was found wearing an ankle monitor from a previous arrest for shoplifting.

Payne has served multiple jail terms for her crimes. She is thought to have stolen about $2m in jewellery and was profiled in a 2013 documentary.

A shop employee observed her stealing several items from the pharmacy, electronics and grocery departments.

Her lawyer, Drew Findling, was quoted by local media as saying: “This is a sharp contrast to all the cases in the past. We’re not talking about high-end jewellery.

“We’re talking about what an 86-year-old woman needs to survive on a day-to-day basis, food supplies and medical supplies.”

She had recently pleaded guilty of stealing a $2,000 diamond necklace from a department store in a suburb of Atlanta. She was then sentenced to house arrest and banned from shopping centres in the city’s area.

Officials say she has used at least 22 aliases since she stole her first diamond when she was a 23-year-old, and probably got away with far more than she was convicted of.

The Jewelers’ Security Alliance, an industry trade group, sent bulletins warning stores about her as early as the 1970s.

In a 2005 prison interview with the Associated Press, Payne said it was never about the money: “I’ve had regrets, and I’ve had a good time.”

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